Rocketing to success with a 3D printing startup. Meet Alexandra.
Launching a digital startup whilst heavily pregnant was not exactly what Alexandra Sciberras had planned. But after completing the Graphic Designer Associate and Website Designer Associate courses with ICE Malta, Alexandra (along with her husband, David), took the leap to focus on their nascent 3D printing business. Fast forward to today, and Invent 3D has recently celebrated its fourth birthday, whilst Alexandra is basking in the business’s success at entrepreneurial competition Pitchora. This is her story.
After graduating, I realised I didn’t completely gel with the pharmaceutical industry and was thinking about pursuing something more fulfilling and more creative. I loved digital art and illustration growing up, and wanted to find something related to that field. Graphic design particularly appealed to me, so I started researching courses – I did consider the university route, but I eventually opted for ICE Malta.
The Graphic Design Associate course seemed like the ideal choice because ICE Malta’s learning format was so flexible. Unlike other courses, it allowed me to study part-time alongside my full-time job, and I really appreciated the hands-on, practical style of learning that ensures you get to grips with the technical skills and software. From there, the Website Designer Associate course seemed like the next logical step in terms of skills development and I was only too happy to continue learning with ICE!
While studying with ICE I was starting to warm to the idea of working in the digital industry, but I certainly wasn’t expecting our family startup to blow up the way it did! Invent 3D started life as a tiny home business – my husband brought home a 3D printer to tinker with one day, and we began producing custom car keychains. Little did we know that demand would explode and lead to us filling our living room with printers…! A couple of months later we decided to pursue this venture full-time and opened our own office space, while also exploring new products that could be 3D printed.
Running any kind of startup is a huge learning curve – it involves having to wear many different hats rather than being compartmentalised within a specific role. With that said, the more practical skills you have, the better, especially when resources are tight and you have a small team.
Being the COO of the company, my responsibilities lie primarily in project management, organisation, finances, and making sure that everything in the company is running smoothly! That said, I am still essentially the in-house designer for Invent 3D – the logo, the majority of the graphic design, some 3D design, and also the first iteration of the website were done by me. My graphic design and web design skills allowed me to take ownership of our brand and in that sense my time at ICE Malta was instrumental in founding the company. The courses really helped me divert my focus on my passion and gave me the tools I needed to work as an entrepreneur.
This is a crucial time for Invent 3D to grow so we were delighted to have the opportunity to secure extra exposure and support with Pitchora. For a number of months it became our primary business focus and took up all of our attention because we were so invested in winning. It certainly was a big learning experience! We realised after ICE Malta’s Brand Story-Telling Workshop that we needed to readjust the messaging of our pitch in order to convey the Invent 3D story. It helped us to reassess our usual approach to marketing and reminded us that there is always room for improvement and growth.
Our next step is to focus on growth and become the industry’s go-to partner for Sustainable Product Development and Additive Manufacturing, helping companies implement a 3D Printing Strategy in a holistic manner.
Our placing at Pitchora has made us very excited about the future for the business. In addition to investment support, the prize included a number of seats in ICE Malta’s Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing – I can’t wait to start the course and have no doubt it will be invaluable in Invent 3D’s next chapter!